The sentencing of convicted child molester Ronald Bragonier was delayed until May 22.
After the reset date was announced in court Friday, Bragonier told Judge Jason Holmberg his attorney, Vicki Lopez, had not defended him the way he had wanted. Continually wiping his eyes, he again protested his innocence and said the teenage victim was lying.
Deputy County Attorney Kristen Sharifi said the family was frustrated with another delay.
“They were really hopeful that today would be the end of it for them,” Sharifi said.
Bragonier was convicted in a jury trial in January of five counts of sexually abusing a minor. While warning him anything he might say would be on the record, the judge listened as Bragonier offered a packet of documents the defendant said were “very, very, very important to me defending myself.”
Bragonier requested Mesa attorney Todd Nolan be present for his sentencing in May, which Holmberg granted.
Holmberg reminded him of his right to appeal if he thought the judge had made a legal error during the trial or if he thought his counsel was inadequate. However, he also told him the jury believed the victim’s testimony.
“I’m not acting as the 13th juror in your case,” Holmberg said as Bragonier became more and more agitated. “Their verdict shows that they believed him and they did not believe you,” Holmberg said.
He said there was no legal reason to throw out the verdict, but Bragonier’s insistence on his innocence would not weigh against him when it did come time for his sentencing. At that time, he will be given a chance to present any mitigating information.
“My family paid a lot of money for an attorney that didn’t do most of what she said she was going to do,” Bragonier said. “She spent three hours with me on a case that’s going to send me to prison for the rest of my life for something I didn’t do.”
Lopez, for her part, said many of the things Bragonier was complaining about were strategy decisions made for specific reasons, “and there were other things that were prohibited from being admitted into evidence before the court.”
Holmberg promised Bragonier that he will read through whatever documents he presents to him before sentencing. He encouraged him to have Nolan look at it beforehand.
The victim was in court surrounded by family and friends.